Lincoln PD hopes to get its first state accreditation

LINCOLN, RI (WLNE) – It’s a process that’s been almost five years in the making but the Lincoln Police Department are on the brink of becoming a state accredited agency for the very first time.

On Tuesday, the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission, RIPAC, scoured through the department’s records to see if they qualify to be accredited.

With this accolade, Lincoln PD’s insurance provider will see them as less of a liability, causing insurance premiums to drop.

But according to Chief Brian Sullivan, the bigger picture is furthering community trust in police.

“It’s important because you have to be transparent. And you have to show people that you know what, this is what we say we’re doing and this is how we’re doing it,” Sullivan said. “We can show you that we’re doing that.”

Sullivan said in the last five years, the station has undergone renovations making it a more modern department, and implementing policies consistent with RIPAC’s standards.

“It’s a process that you need to make sure that all of your policies are not only in place that you’re following them,” he said. “It’s a model policy that almost every police department in the state follows.”

Christine Crocker is the executive director of RIPAC who said that departments have to meet minimum standards when it comes to everything from use of force protocols, to making sure lock boxes for officer firearms are outside interview rooms, and if there’s a first-aid kit in holding areas.

“There’s requirements for training, not just on the weapons that we issue to our officers but also on our policies and you have to demonstrate proficiency,” Crocker said, a former Cumberland Police captain. “Your police here are not what you’ve seen on TV.”

Crocker said when it comes to use-of-force, the 47 agencies, including college campus departments, all adhere to the gold standard.

So far, 31 agencies in the state have accreditation through RIPAC. New Shoreham and Airport Police are the only departments not part of the RIPAC program, according to Crocker.

Part of the use of force protocol is something called the “duty to intervene.”

It’s a policy used by Rhode Island departments for the last four years, and has a deep connection to the killing of George Floyd.

Crocker said under RIPAC guidelines, that incident would have never happened in Rhode Island.

“If you see another officer who is using excessive force you are required by policy to intervene and stop that action,” she said. “It’s a management model that helps to mitigate risk and to provide tools to your employees so they can make good decisions.”

Other requirements by RIPAC is a review of use of force protocols, as well as training on firearms and tasers annually.

The review of Lincoln Police finished Tuesday, and now the report goes to the 12-person commission, consisting of police chiefs, and other town officials not involved in law enforcement.

Lincoln PD will find out if they get accredited in the next 30 days.

 

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